Human Trafficking in Europe

Date: 7th May 2013
Category: Children in situations of exploitation
Author: European Commission

The European Commission has published the first report on trafficking of human beings, in which 23,632 people were identified as, or presumed to be, victims of trafficking in the EU between 2008 and 2010.

More than 60 per cent of victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation, while forced labour accounts for another 25 per cent. Children represent 15 per cent of all victims. Despite this situation, only six out of the 27 EU Member States have amended national law to fully comply with the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive, which places an obligation on governments to provide victims of trafficking with more protection, even in cases where victims have committed offences as a result of being trafficked.

Commenting on this aspect of the Directive, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, a senior judge in Italy said: "Someone cannot be punished for something he or she has not chosen to do - this is a principle of criminal law. It is essential to understand the real situation of the person who finds themselves without documents, without friends or family or a situation of heavy dependency, even for food. A person in a situation of multiple dependency can be compelled to commit a crime without physical force."